Agriculture: protecting South Africa’s sleeping giant

Agriculture

Agriculture: protecting South Africa’s sleeping giant

Published: 10 September 2020
The agricultural sector is a significant contributor to the South African economy – making up 10-12% of GDP through job creation, export and providing raw materials to other sectors. In these uncommon times, Santam, South Africa’s leading general insurer, is highlighting areas that intermediaries and agribusinesses should consider to keep this R109.5 billion sector protected and thriving.

“Farmers are some of the most sophisticated and essential businesspeople,” says Andrew Coutts, Head of Intermediated Business for Santam. “Providing them with the right cover and support can allow them to focus on growing their business with peace of mind.”

As the host of Santam’s ‘Intermediate’ podcast series, Coutts invited a panel of experts to discuss key risk-protection tactics that can promote growth for agronomy in 2020. Louw Conradie - Head of Broker Services North, David Lipholo - Agriculture Contact Centre Manager, and Hanlie Kroese - Market Development Manager discussed various aspects of insuring the vital industry of agriculture.

The discussions identified three areas that farmers should consider to ensure the sustainability and growth of agriculture.

Innovation
Beyond traditional support initiatives, the opportunity for sustainable transformation is important. The industry needs innovation, which can be done through various platforms. Gathering data to give farmers measurable standards, providing training in other areas like basic finance, and education for new generation farmers are important to improve production and promote efficacy.

The Santam Silage competition is another way we contribute to sustainability. “By improving the efficiency on the tons of silage produced each year we put back millions in increased milk and meat production in the farmer’s pockets with the same production cost,” said Hanlie Kroese. “All South Africans benefit as the more cost-effective farmers can farm, the more sustainable and competitive their produce becomes. Santam’s approach is about doing more than insurance.”

Safety and support
Access to emergency services should not be limited to one source. As a top priority, farmers and intermediaries should consider coverage that includes an independent range of support services – whether it be a medical emergency, a natural disaster or a criminal event.

Louw Conradie believes that the best plan should include support for all aspects of a life-altering event. “Look at cover that will provide comprehensive protection: from a variety of evacuation and rescue options to trauma counselling and legal counsel assistance. These are services that promote the holistic support of a client that are often overlooked until they are needed.”

“Product evolution and industry innovation is why Santam is firmly entrenched in the agricultural industry,” says Coutts.

Cover that ebbs and flows
The nature of farming requires adjustment to the ebb and flow of various elements that can affect production. That’s why it’s important to have coverage that is flexible to these changes.

“It’s important to ensure that seasonal coverage can be adjusted. Make sure that you can adjust the yield potential and price per tonne as it fluctuates,” says Conradie. “From livestock to irrigation systems, the farmer can have the freedom to grow the business based on their potential and without concerns about valuations.”

By sourcing specialist cover, the use of cutting-edge technology like GPS navigation, telematics, drones and automation are promoted and protected.

Focusing on important approaches and adaptations needed to better serve the agricultural sector, this episode is essential listening for brokers and farmers alike. “Our various channels of interaction are continually optimising to make end-to-end risk management as simple and effective as possible,” said David Lipholo. “Santam created this podcast series as another way to continually interact with insurance intermediaries and promote client engagement.”

The podcast is available on Santam’s YouTube channel.